New Semester

So obviously, my good intentions about blogging more often didn’t work out so well upon returning to Hopkins– but hey, life is complex. So what’re the cool (seriously!) things that’ve been stealing my time away from the Blogoverse?

  • I spent a week in Chicago with Caitlin, which was a blast; got to see all the big museums, look at the Bean, eat really great food (including having pizza at the self-proclaimed “Inventor of the Stuffed Crust Pizza”), and generally relaxing.

  • I did a large number of interviews with all sorts of fun people. No, I won’t say who they were all with, but I will say that all but one were quite enjoyable. (One was pretty terrible… but that’s fine, as the company in question was highly sketchy at best. Note to recruiters: If you find my resume on Google, that’s fine. If you find my resume on Google then cold-email me and get my name wrong (for the record, my name is spelled correctly on my resume)– that’s less than fine, but I understand. If you do all the above, then reveal that the company for which you’re recruiting’s mission is targeting spam by stealing personal information from social networking sites– OK, that’s not so good. Thank you, best wishes to you in your future lives, but no thanks.)

  • I spent a bunch of time developing the first part of a new syllabus for the Java lab course (the one I really teach, as opposed to the Java primary course, where the professor teaches and I just grade/hold office hours/etc.). Hopefully I’ll be able to talk more about that soon; I’m still waiting for final approval on the new plan from my boss / the course professor.

And now, classes have started at Hopkins; today’s the third day of the new semester, because Hopkins has extraordinarily short semesters. This is my last semester with any undergraduate status, and it should be fun– I’m taking all those courses I really should have taken before:

  • Operating Systems - Pretty much what you think it is.

  • Programming Languages - the department chair’s introduction to life, the universe, everything, and OCaml

  • Digital Preservation - A cool one-credit seminar on techniques of keeping data around forever

  • Information Retrieval - A course on, basically, “doing neat things with the Internet as your data source.”

  • Understanding the Supreme Court - my fifth Constitutional Law class, and my third at the Ph.D level– with a professor I really enjoy

  • Computer Programming Workshop - this is just a name for, essentially, “creating a Java lab syllabus on the fly.” But it should be quite enjoyable

  • Violin lessons, as always.

I’m also enjoying all the stares, gasps, and cries of amazement every time I pull out my OLPC, which is coming with me to every class; not only do I get more battery life, a faster recharge time, and better WiFi than other laptops, but it also weighs nearly nothing and is indestructable– entirely unlike most laptops. So it’s a fun time. I did get the dreaded alt-key-stuck bug, but while I could have spent a month without the laptop and shipped it back to be fixed, I just used the power of Linux to implement the fix the OLPC people came up with, which works perfectly well (I didn’t need a left alt key anyway). The other big OLPC advantage is that I can bring my laptop and sit in Starbucks for a few hours on occasion, since I have the OLPC’s free year of T-Mobile WiFi– I’m not sure I’d actually pay money for Internet in Starbucks, but it’s quite nice simply to have it. And at the end of the year, who knows? Maybe I won’t be able to live without it.

That’s all from me for now– nerdy blog posts are upcoming, but first, I have to go sketch out how to best torture educate Java babies.